In today’s digital landscape, email is an essential component of business communication. It offers speed, convenience, and versatility, allowing users to exchange information across various devices seamlessly. However, this convenience comes with a significant caveat: email security. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the critical importance of email security for organisations, the various threats it safeguards against, and strategies to enhance email security.
Why Email Security Matters:
Email security plays a pivotal role in safeguarding an organisation from a multitude of cyber threats that exploit email account vulnerabilities. Cybercriminals often leverage email-based attack vectors like phishing and spam to gain unauthorized access to networks, potentially compromising sensitive data and wreaking havoc. By adhering to email security best practices, businesses can significantly mitigate the risk of malware propagation, including notorious threats like ransomware and viruses, thus preventing successful cyber attacks.
Understanding the Vulnerability of Email
Email is a prime target for cyber threats due to its widespread use across organisations. It’s an open format, easily readable on any device without decryption once intercepted. Email messages travel across multiple networks and servers, some of which may be vulnerable and unsecured, before reaching their intended recipients. Even if an individual’s computer is secure, the networks or servers that email passes through may be compromised, posing a significant risk.
Additionally, cybercriminals can effortlessly impersonate senders or manipulate email content, including body copy, attachments, URLs, or sender email addresses. This manipulation is relatively straightforward for hackers targeting unsecured systems, as they can access and alter data containing crucial information about the email’s origin, destination, and more.
Types of Email Attacks
Cybercriminals employ various tactics to exploit email security, with some methods capable of causing severe damage to an organisation’s data and reputation. These attacks include:
- Phishing: Phishing attacks aim to deceive users by sending fraudulent texts, direct messages, or emails, often impersonating trusted individuals or institutions. The attacker leverages these impersonations to steal sensitive data such as account numbers, credit card details, or login information.
- Spoofing: Spoofing is a deceptive email threat where the sender’s identity is manipulated to appear as someone other than the actual sender. This tactic is a common tool for Business Email Compromise (BEC) attacks. The email platform cannot distinguish a spoofed email from a genuine one, making it a potent attack vector.
The Impact of a Single Malicious Email
The consequences of a successful phishing attack can be devastating for an organisation’s cybersecurity:
- Credential Theft: Phishing can lead to the theft of a user’s username and password, enabling remote access to on-site and cloud services, data theft, or other malicious actions.
- Fraudulent Payments: Business Email Compromise (BEC) scams impersonate high-level executives and instruct employees to make payments to specified accounts, often resulting in financial losses.
- Trojan Installation: Malicious emails may carry Trojans that create a foothold on the target’s computer, collecting data and downloading additional malware.
- Ransomware Delivery: Phishing emails are a common vector for ransomware attacks, encrypting files and demanding a ransom for recovery.
All it takes is one employee falling victim to a phishing attack for it to be successful, though attackers often target multiple employees to increase their chances of success.
Why Built-In Security Isn’t Enough
Many organisations rely on the default security settings provided by their cloud email provider, such as Microsoft 365. However, these settings may not be sufficient to protect against various email-based threats:
- Zero-Day Malware: Many email security solutions rely on signature-based malware detection, which may not identify and block zero-day attacks before they infiltrate the network.
- Social Engineering and BEC: Some phishing attacks don’t contain traditional malware but manipulate users into taking specific actions, making them challenging to detect.
- Employee Negligence: Employee actions can be as detrimental as cyberattacks. Sharing sensitive data via email or cloud solutions without proper authorization can lead to data leaks.
To fortify email security, businesses should consider using a comprehensive email security solution with core capabilities:
- Malware Protection
- Data Loss Prevention
- Account Takeover Prevention
Enter Hornetsecurity, a comprehensive email security solution that offers a plethora of features to ensure your email communication remains secure and uninterrupted.
Protect Your Inbox
At Sand Communications, we have partnered with Hornetsecurity, the global expert in email cloud security, compliance and backup for Microsoft 365.
Below you can find some of the key features that they use to protect your inbox:
Email Live Tracking
Imagine having complete visibility into all the emails addressed to specific users in your organization. Hornet Security’s Email Live Tracking feature provides just that. This feature allows users to quickly locate emails and define delivery options for the future, making it easier to manage and secure your inbox effectively.
One of the challenges of email communication is dealing with newsletters and informative emails that clutter your inbox. Hornet Security’s Infomail Handling prevents the direct delivery of such emails and provides a daily report summarizing the Infomail sent that day. This empowers users to decide which emails they want to read, reducing inbox clutter.
Keeping unwanted or unauthorized file attachments out of your email communication is crucial for data security and compliance. Hornet Security’s Content Control ensures that your emails adhere to company policy, protecting your organization from potential threats.
Maintaining regulatory compliance is essential for many businesses. Hornet Security’s Compliance Filter extends your filtering capabilities, allowing for automatic checks of incoming and outgoing emails based on self-defined filter regulations, ensuring your emails meet compliance standards.
Defense Against Threats:
Spam and Malware Protection
Emails can be a gateway for spam and malware attacks. Hornet Security’s Spam and Malware Protection feature blocks incoming emails identified as harmful with a high degree of certainty, keeping your organization safe from digital threats.
Identity and Access Management
Hornet Security’s Outlook allow and deny list simplifies the process of managing email senders. With just one click, you can decide which senders to include on your personal deny list or from which senders emails should always be delivered (allow list).
Protecting sensitive in-house content against unauthorized disclosure is paramount. Hornet Security offers Global SMIME/PGP Encryption to safeguard your emails, ensuring that confidential information remains secure.
Secure Cipher Policy Control
You can customize the security criteria used in your email communication with Hornet Security’s Secure Cipher Policy Control. This empowers you to align your email security with your organization’s specific needs.
Even if recipients lack encryption capabilities, Hornet Security’s Websafe feature ensures that emails are encrypted and safely delivered, providing peace of mind in the era of digital communication.
Data Management and Recovery
Automatic email archiving is a vital component of data management. Hornet Security’s Email Archiving feature seamlessly captures emails as they are received and sent, with flexible retention periods to comply with data protection regulations.
eDiscovery and Forensic Analyses
Hornet Security employs AI-based detection mechanisms, including Intention Recognition Systems and Fraud Attempt Analysis, to detect malicious intent and fraudulent activity within emails. This advanced protection ensures that your organization is shielded from targeted attacks and identity spoofing.
ATP Sandboxing and URL Malware Control
To counter targeted and blended attacks, Hornet Security offers ATP Sandboxing, subjecting threats to comprehensive analysis. URL Malware Control secures internet addresses in email communication, protecting your organization from digital espionage and notifying you of direct attacks.
Realtime Threat Report
Centralizing the functions and results of your email security, Hornet Security’s Realtime Threat Report provides a complete overview of your company’s security, allowing you to stay informed and make data-driven decisions.
Data Backup and Recovery
Hornet Security doesn’t stop at email security; it also offers robust data backup and recovery solutions. With automated backups for mailboxes, Teams, OneDrive, and SharePoint, your data is safeguarded, and recovery is made easy.
In a world where cyber threats are ever-evolving, the importance of email security cannot be overstated. Hornet Security’s comprehensive suite of features offers a holistic approach to email security and data management, providing the peace of mind and protection your business needs in today’s digital landscape. Don’t wait until a security breach occurs; contact us today to find out how Hornet Security can fortify your email communication and protect your organization’s integrity.